North Carolina Attorney General Roy
Cooper on Monday said his office would no longer defend the state's
ban on gay marriage.
Cooper, a Democrat who last year stated
his opposition to the ban but vowed to defend it in court, said a
ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond striking
down Virginia's ban had sealed the fate of North Carolina's marriage
amendment. The Fourth Circuit holds jurisdiction over North
Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia.
court strikes down Virginia's gay marriage ban.)
“After reviewing the 4th Circuit
decision and consulting with attorneys here, I have concluded that
the State of North Carolina will not oppose the cases moving
forward,” Cooper told reporters. “In addition, the State of
North Carolina will acknowledge the 4th Circuit opinion that marriage
is a fundamental right and that our office believes that the judges
are bound by this 4th Circuit decision. In all these cases
challenging state marriage laws, our office along with other
attorneys general and state attorneys across the country have made
about every legal argument imaginable. Since the US Supreme Court
ruled in the Windsor case, all the federal courts have
rejected these arguments each and every time.”
“So it’s time for the State of
North Carolina to stop making them,” he added.